‘Save and rescue every single day’: Parksville vet clinic opens up dedicated to saving rescue animals

Rochelle Neufeld, an animal care worker at Fantastic Beasts holding one of the kittens the vet clinic has helped treat.

A vet clinic has opened up on Vancouver Island dedicated to helping rescue animals and the nonprofits that save them.

Checking in on a stray cat that was found in bad shape in Parksville, Dr. Meggie Beal talked quietly to the friendly white feline and said she could see the bright future that lies ahead for it now, after providing it some needed TLC and surgery at her vet clinic Fantastic Beasts.

“I love the idea of looking after animals that don’t have anyone to look after them,” Beal told CHEK News.

And the staff that work at the clinic echo Beal’s passion for the work.

“This is like what we breathe every day. To literally save and rescue every single day. It’s an indescribable, rewarding feeling,” said Rochelle Neufeld, an animal care worker at Fantastic Beasts.

The clinic opened to address a growing need for nonprofits looking for vets to help rescue animals.

“We’re hearing from different animal rescue groups all the time and the need is high,” said Justine Morrison the rescue division manager at Fantastic Beasts.

Beal says she saw it firsthand working at a previous vet clinic. According to Beal, long waiting lists and vet shortages were holding up spays and neuters and hampering rescues’ ability to help all the animals that needed it.

“The longer that takes, the fewer animals can come in and be helped,” said Beal.

So she opened the Parksville clinic, and dedicated it entirely to rescues for the first six months, in addition to offering them reduced rates. Morrison says the team has done almost 450 surgeries in just the first six months.

Then in December, half the clinic in Parksville’s Wembley Mall was opened up to private clients as well, to help ease waitlists that the growing area’s pet owners are facing.

“Our future goals are to offer low income families accessible veterinary care as well,” said Morrison.

Beal says she hopes other vet clinics copy the model being offered.

“We’re trying to show that this is a possible union that any clinic could do if they wanted to, between a traditional vet hospital and rescue medicine,” said Beal.

Because animal rescues and shelters are reporting a sharp rise in the numbers of dumped and surrendered animals, as the economy worsens.

“COVID definitely has a little bit to do with it still. We’re still seeing a little bit of leftovers as well when everyone got excited and when they went back to work they no longer had the time,” said Neufeld.

In the meantime, Beal says they will continue this work in the mid-Island.

“We are trying to be the champions for those who don’t have anyone,” said Beal.

The clinic is now getting calls from rescues on Gulf Islands, and as far away as Vancouver, to help their animals in need right away. All to make room for the many more still out there.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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